Treatise on the Art of Silk

Treatise on the Art of Silk – Giunti Editore – Plut.89.sup.cod.117 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy)

Florence (Italy) — February 1487

An important testimony to cultural exchange along the Silk Road: two works on the fine art of silk weaving from Florence, the European center of the ancient industry imported from China

  1. A Florentine codex uniting two informative works on the mysterious art of weaving silk

  2. A manuscript from 1489, Trattato dell’arte della seta, is appended by a treatise from 1868

  3. Florence was the center of the Renaissance silk industry and continues to produce silk today

Treatise on the Art of Silk

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Treatise on the Art of Silk

A true treasure of Florentine history whose traces can still be found today: two treatises on the mysterious art of weaving silk. Florence is considered to have been the center of the Italian silk industry during the Renaissance. The craft and all of its complicated steps are described in detail in the Trattato dell’arte della seta, written in Florence in the year 1489, additionally, a printed treatise from the year 1868 on the same topic append the manuscript with informative explanations.

Treatise on the Art of Silk

Silk – the embodiment of luxury and wealth to this day. Similarly, Florentine silks are counted among the best of what is created from modern silk production. Already in the 15th century, precious raw silk from Asia was being woven into splendid and costly materials, which were in great demand among the monarchs and nobility of that time. The mastery with which this complex craft was practiced turned the Italian city into the center of the Renaissance silk industry. There are still some silk weaving mills in Florence today, which pursue this masterful and simultaneously mysterious craft with passion.

A Textbook on Weaving Silk

This great art of weaving silk is brought back to life in the manuscript with the shelf mark Plut.89sup.cod.11 in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence. In this treatise on Florentine silk art, originating from the year 1489, was the only manuscript to describe the steps for producing silk in detail. It was probably in this manner that the complex craft could be conveyed to the apprentices in various workshops. Weaving silk – a simultaneously mysterious and masterful art – was gorgeously illustrated with water colors. Alongside the complex weaving techniques and the remaining technical aspects of the work, the commercial side of weaving silk also comes up: in the end, the treatise was furnished with gorgeous marginal illustration by merchants**.

Mysterious Vocabulary

This historical testimonial of the important Florentine art of weaving silk was appended by a printed book from the year 1868, which is based on Codex 1580 of the Biblioteca Riccordiana. In this work, composed by Girolamo Garciolli, the reader finds inter alia an index and helpful explanations of special words and terms from the craft of weaving silk. In this way, the compendium offers the unique opportunity to occupy oneself with the fascinating craft of weaving silk in 15th century Florence. A truly enchanting world of luxury and splendor!


Alternative Titles
Trattato dell'arte della seta
Trattato dell'arte della seta e l'Arte della Seta in Firenze
Treatise on the Art of Silk and The Art of Silk in Florence
Traktat der Seidenkunst
Size / Format
122 pages / 30.0 × 21.0 cm
February 1487
Previous Owners
Emperor Francis III

Available facsimile editions:
Facsimile Editions

#1 Trattato dell'arte della seta e L'arte della seta in Firenze

Giunti Editore – Florence, 1995

Publisher: Giunti Editore – Florence, 1995
Binding: The box with the size 235 x 325 mm contains the two volumes.
Commentary: 1 volume by Girolamo Gargiolli
Language: Italian
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
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